When a personal injury occurs, the negligent party must maintain responsibility for the effects and damages from the accident. As a personal injury victim, you shouldn’t have to battle financial challenges as you are recovering. Depending on the circumstances and type of injury, you might be entitled to pain and suffering compensation.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
From a legal standpoint, “pain and suffering” refers to the discomfort and physical pain caused by your injuries. Not only do injury victims have physical problems requiring medical care, but it also comes with a variety of negative emotions that can affect other areas of your life, such as anger, sadness, frustration, and more.
How has your enjoyment of life been affected by pain and suffering? While there isn’t a universal definition for pain and suffering relating to personal injury, this phrase typically refers to:
- Physical pain resulting from the injury or accident
- Ongoing discomfort or pain caused by necessary medical interventions and treatments
- Mental and psychological effects from the accident and injuries
The degree of pain and suffering after an injury is usually determined by several indicators: the type and severity of the injury and the medical services required for treatment. When an insurance company or jury reviews your claim, they will consider these factors to determine the amount of pain and suffering compensation to award.
For example, pain and suffering damages will be nominal if you only have $1000 in medical bills for imaging and diagnostics. When the injury requires more in-depth medical care and treatments (thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in bills), then pain and suffering will be much more substantial.
Economic Damages vs. Non-Economic Damages
“Damages” is a legal term that refers to any losses that occur due to the wrongful conduct of another person or party. It’s relatively simple to tally up economic damages after an injury, such as lost income and medical bills. Examples of monetary damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Ambulance or emergency services
- Home accommodations for a disability or permanent injury
- Counseling services
- Repair to property damage
But non-economic damages are less quantifiable, falling under the umbrella of “pain and suffering.” It’s impossible to put together a comprehensive list of everything that falls in the category of pain and suffering. Many injured people choose to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to identify the pain and suffering portion of their claim. Non-economic damages might include things such as:
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
- Activity limitations
- Difficulty communicating
- Debilitating disabilities or physical impairments
- Chronic pain
- Emotional and mental issues
- Physical deformities
- Reduced life span
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
Compensation for general economic damages is usually available by filing an insurance claim. But if you are entitled to additional payouts for non-economic damages, these compensations are only available by filing a pain and suffering injury lawsuit.
Types of Personal Injury Cases Involving Pain and Suffering
A variety of personal injury circumstances can include pain and suffering compensation, including:
- Workplace injury
- Medical malpractice
- Car accident
- Bicycle accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Boating accident
- Assault and battery
- Slip and fall injury
- Dangerous drugs
- Animal bites
If you’ve experienced any of these injuries, then it’s time to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and identify opportunities for compensation.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Costs
How much will you receive for pain and suffering? The insurance company or court determines compensation. So, it’s helpful to have a lawyer help you build a strong case. Typically, these calculations include a variety of factors:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Type of accident
- State laws
- Impact on relationships
- Impact on employment and income
- Length of time required for recovery
- Necessary medical treatment
In a personal injury case, the insurance providers usually calculate compensation using two steps. First, the total economic damages. Then, the multiplier method is factored in by insurance companies to determine pain and suffering based on the severity of the injury. A number between 1.5 to 5 is selected based on the factors listed above.
For example, when you sustain serious injuries, the multiplier will be close to 4 or 5. This number increases when the fault of the other person is obvious. Other common causes are serious injuries (such as personal disability) and an extended recovery period.
Employee Injuries: Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit
It’s important to note that pain and suffering compensation isn’t available through a Workers’ Compensation claim. This system is limited to payments for wage loss and medical bills, with no coverage for other related costs for pain and suffering.
If a physical injury resulted in an emotional or mental disorder, then it might fall into the category of a “compensable consequence” caused by the original injury. For example, there are circumstances where an injured person can receive treatments through Workers’ Compensation for this mental or emotional condition.
On the other hand, you might be able to receive extra compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Suppose it’s a work-related injury involving a third party (a person or business other than the employer). In that case, there might be an option to receive pain and suffering compensation through the other party.
Building a Strong Personal Injury Case
Receiving compensation for pain and suffering requires proof that the individual or business can be held liable for the injury. Usually, this is done by filing a third-party claim with the support of a personal injury attorney. It’s up to you to build a case because most insurance providers and businesses will work hard to minimize their out-of-pocket costs.
It’s helpful to document and report your experience after the accident. Use pictures, videos, medical records, and other related details. Make sure your doctors and medical providers are documenting this information in your medical records. Additionally, you can maintain personal records by writing down daily activities you cannot participate in because of your injuries.
Personal Injury Representation from AMA Law
Do you need assistance building a personal injury case? Our team will work hard to help you access both economic and non-economic damages relating to your injury. For more information, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at AMA Law. We provide personalized services intending to protect your interests after an accident occurs.